Is the find of the first half just that? Or did the Giants happen upon something more?
That is probably the most pertinent, non-trade-deadline-related question that needs answering as the Giants begin the second half Friday in Milwaukee. Is Alex Dickerson for real?
The Giants traded for the DFA’d outfielder from San Diego on June 10, and he didn’t last with Triple-A Sacramento long. Since he’s been called up, he has energized the team with his, ahem, wood, and the chants that erupt after each Act of Dickerson have been a sign that a woebegone team is suddenly having fun — and winning.
In the AD — After Dickerson, since his June 21 call-up — the Giants are 10-6. He has played in every one of those games and brings a .362/.444/.787 slash line with four home runs into critical series in Milwaukee and Colorado.
“It’s been extremely productive,” Dickerson told KNBR on Sunday, looking back on his 2019 before the Giants finished the first half at 41-48. “Did a lot of hard work in the minors that got me the opportunity in the big leagues and felt comfortable. Honestly, as comfortable as I’ve felt since my injury in ’16. I’m happy with it. I’m really looking forward to hopefully just continuing this.”
There is reason to believe the good times can stretch through the break. The left fielder had shown signs he has a bat built for the majors, including a respectable stint with the Padres in 2016 and slashing .382/.425/.622 in Triple-A that season. But as has been well-documented, back surgery ended one season and Tommy John surgery the next. He returned this season to a crowded San Diego outfield scene, and when he didn’t hit immediately, he became the odd man out.
If there is untapped talent on the market, Farhan Zaidi can sniff it out. But it was untapped for a reason. Dickerson is a walking injury concern without a resume that would entrench him in their outfield for the next few years.
He’s also not a kid prospect; Dickerson’s break-out season — or weeks, at least — are coming when he’s 29 years old.
He is not spry, and he doesn’t hide it, either. Sure, the break could bring an end to his hot hitting, but Dickerson was excited about what it could do for his body.
“Letting your body kind of rest up,” Dickerson said about his plans. “A lot of times over Day 2 or Day 3 [of the break], you notice some soreness is popping up. Just the adrenaline of playing every day, your body tends to hide a lot of things.
“Generally you’re kind of sore heading back out there [for the second half]. … Hopefully feeling great on the other side of it.”
Facing a righty pitcher in Chase Anderson, the Giants will continue right away getting a sense if Dickerson — and the chants that permeate through the dugout — is in their future.